August Break - NYC

NYC cab New York CityAugust Break 2012Hey pals - this is the girl and I in late June in NYC. She is an expert hailer of cabs. Love that she is "free range" at a rustic cottage AND all over the big city too. A girl after my own heart.

Speaking of NYC, I'm off next Wednesday for ALTNYC! And it's at the MSLO offices in Chelsea - mecca for all things entrepreneurial and aspirational lifestyle. Love her or not, Martha knows how to build an empire - and it's based on designing, manufacturing and selling goods. Anyone can do a sleight of hand with ideas or images - try trading if you want a REAL challenge!

I get to see Jen of Classic Play and Giulia of Fishly News and Jess of Curating Style. Plus many others. That'll be me with the ziploc bag of business cards. I'm all classy like that.

Now for this weekend - picking up a friend from London from the ferry for a visit, a little Friday night dinner, some beach time and lots of biking. How about you? Oh, and I think season 2 of Boss starts tonight!

See you next week.

Summer Fun - Cottage Style

You know how you pitch in and help out your friends? That's what we're like around here. While Melanie's away on holiday, a bunch of us are guest posting at her place. I'm over there today talking about summer. Come on over and take a look!

Summer Fun - How to host a house concert

I love music. Lots of different kinds of music. And over the years I have gotten a bit fussy about where and when I hear it live. Don't get me wrong, I love the club scene. And the bar scene. I've heard fabulous blue grass at the basement bar of the Dakota in Toronto. And I always hit the Jazz Standard when I am in New York. But there is something about being at a house concert.

We hosted a few when we were living in Toronto. And we are lucky to get in on some here in Vancouver too. Lucky to be invited. And lucky that a jazz saxaphonist here not only runs a jazz club but also collaborates with some friends who host house concerts in their home.

The organizer is Cory Weeds and he owns the Jazz Cellar.

Over the years he has become good friends with Benny Green. Benny Green who played with the following: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Ray Brown, Betty Carter. 

So when Cory heard that Benny was in Seattle for a few gigs, he emailed him and arranged a house concert here in Vancouver. It's exactly as it sounds - get a few friends together in someone's home and listen to them perform.

So how do you do this?

1. Find a house. Seriously. Find a house with a piano that is tuned.

2. Find the musician(s). Talk to some musicians that you like, whether local or not. If not local, see when they are touring in your town and email to see if they have time for a house concert.

3. Decide what to charge. Find out their fee and figure out how many people you need to cover their cost. I've hosted some where I charged $20 per person and have attended some as high as $50 a person.

4. Invites. Email your friends and their friends. Tell them it's BYOB.

5. Be kind to the neighbours. Let the neighbours know when it is starting and finishing. You'll be in a residential neighbourhood so I'd recommend 7-9pm.

6. Set the "stage". Get enough chairs and couches together.  Make some snacks. 

7. Enjoy. Sit back and have the time of your life. 

You will be hearing music as it's meant to be heard. No mikes. Intimate setting. Close up. Forget that stadium or the concert hall - this IS how it's meant to be.

Have you been to a house concert? Would you ever host one?

Summer fun - How to Make a Fairy House

summer cottage

We had a cottage. A lovely lovely cottage. More rustic than "house-y". On a lake. A beautiful lake. That's the art studio that was next to the main cottage. And I'll always miss it! I wrote more about it here.  

We had just under two acres that was mostly treed and one of the first things we did that first summer when the girl was 3 1/2 was to make a fairy trail. We chopped and raked and made a path through the woods. Lined it with fallen logs. And every once in a while we gathered whatever we could find and made a fairy house.

summer cottage

We no longer have our cottage but we do still believe in fairies around here. And a few weeks ago we set about making a new fairy house. 

fairy house

We bought a birdhouse at Michaels and I dug up some acrylic paints from the craft closet. The girl picked out the colours and we began painting.

fairy house

I found some fairy figurines and a unicorn too. Coloured gravel for a path and pink "crystals" for the crystal collector in our family.

fairy house

You need a second fairy so that the first one doesn't get lonely.

fairy house

It may not be the fanciest or the most stylish fairy house but it's her creation. And that's what matters.

It's nestled underneath the overhang of the deck right beside the patio table and chairs. With all the rain here on the west coast it needed a bit of protection from the weather. You can't really see it when you walk by out the back door - it's behind a shrub. But when you are sitting down to eat you just need to look over and down and there it is. The girl's fairy house. Carrying on the fairy tradition.

Do you have a fairy house in your garden? Any other little surprises?

Summer Fun - What to read on your summer vacation

This is my favourite place to be in the summer. Think warm. Hot sun. Cool clean lake water. A perfect summer day.

I love driving the boat for water skiers and wake boarders. Love creating an experience that they'll enjoy, whether they are a beginner at it or an expert. Finding that perfect part of the lake for them. And I LOVE water skiing and wake boarding too. 

The anticipation as I hang in the water waiting to say "hit it". The boat takes off pulling me up. Kicking it back old school on a slalom ski going back and forth across the wake. Pulling so hard on the tow rope that I am almost parallel to the boat. Stopping in at the marina for a popsicle.

And when the boating is done, parking the boat at the dock, hopping into a Muskoka chair and picking up a book to read while I dry off. 

You know that I love to read, right? I always have a book on the go. And I have been doing my crazy video book reviews too. Well, here's a list of them all in one place for your summer reading pleasure. 

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - Think Mad Men meets Breakfast at Tiffany's meets the Great Gatsby

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson - The Royal Tenenbaums with performance artists at parents

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes - Suspense plus a little OCD

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt - A quirky western with unforgettable characters

Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson - If you had amnesia, who could you trust?

Do you want more? I'll be doing some more book reviews soon. What are you reading this summer? If you have a summer reading post, share it in the comments so we can pool our "reading" resources, okay?

(BTW, the sunglasses are Paul Smith from three years ago - you can't seem them TOO clearly in the photo but they are fab).